“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isa. 5:20, NIV)
Sometimes the language of pop cultural can make a person smile. I personally enjoy the term “Snowflakes” to describe the super sensitive little darlings in adult bodies that cannot handle reality. According to FOX and Friends, Snowflakes need comfort food on their campuses. They need safe zones to run to if they feel threatened by an opposing point of view. The Snowflakes need to gather for a primordial scream when their presidential candidate does not win an election. They melt at the thought of being responsible for their own birth control, healthcare, job security, tuition, and future. The Snowflakes want Mommy, Daddy, Big Brother, or Uncle Sam to take care of them to the point they do nothing except take what they have not earned, or deserved.
If the Snowflakes would just melt away into their own little Utopia, that would be good. Society would be much better off. Unfortunately, Snowflakes are not melting away. They are too protected for that, bless their little pea pickin’ hearts.
To make matters worse, the Snowflakes have been given enough education to become foolish. The word “sophomore” means literally, “wise fool.” That is what Snowflakes are. They are wise in their own estimation, but foolish in their reasoning. Knowledge without wisdom is a very dangerous possession. In particular, Snowflakes have learned to say the word, “respect.” Yes, they want respect.
The desire for respect is not a bad desire. It is part of being human. Confucius asked, “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?” It is good to learn to respect the rights, thoughts, and privileges of others. It is important that parents teach their children respect for themselves, and for others. Billy Graham has said, “A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.” That is true. Therefore, it is good to learn, and to teach others to honor, and esteem, God, parents, the Law, the Church, and those in authority.
The demand for respect is a little more problematic. Malcolm X demanded respect. He said to his followers, “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”
Devout Muslims demand respect for their leader, and for the Koran. To speak against the Prophet, or the Koran, is to invited death by stabbing, beheading, gunshot, or bombing.
Kim Jong-un, the mad dictator of North Korea, demands respect. He threatens nuclear annihilation on any national leader that will not respect him.
Chinese and Soviet Communist leaders demand respect. They will kill, incarcerate, confiscate property, and brutally beat up anyone who does not show proper respect.
Ironically, people who demand respect from others for their beliefs, and behavior, seldom show respect towards those with whom they disagree. The demand for respect tends to be unilateral. When a person’s beliefs, or behavior, is not respected, honored, valued, or esteemed, as demanded, there is outrage. The person who feels disrespected begins to lecture others on how wrong they are. There is a lot of anger and resentment manifested in words of cruelty, vulgarity, and thoughtless generalization. It is an amazing spectacle to listen to people who have no respect for the traditional home, unborn human life, government, God, Jesus, Christians, the Church, or the Ten Commandments, lecture others on morality, and the need for respect.
With all the demands being made for respect, some basic truths are forgotten.
First, authentic personal respect is something that can only be earned, not demanded. There is a difference between being socially respectful towards someone, and respecting them. The Bible commands Christians to be respectful to all who are in authority, and to pray for them. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Tim. 2:1-2) This is a remarkable command when it is remembered that Nero was the ruler of Rome when this was written. Christians can be respectful of the role of government as a Divine ordained institution, without honoring, and esteeming all that government does, such as persecute Christians, confiscate property by legal theft, engage in meaningless wars, tax citizens excessively, sponsor pedophilia in the name of free speech, and slaughter the innocent. Christians are to respectfully listen to the thoughts of others, no matter how foolish or illogical those thoughts may be, without honoring or esteeming the stream of consciousness when it is contrary to the known will of God.
Second, respect is something that must be shown in order to be received. There is in human nature the Law of Reciprocity. Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31, NIV) Why did Jesus say this? Because of the Law of Reciprocity. The way you treat someone is the way you will be treated.
People who are sarcastic with others will soon find they are the object of sarcasm. Those who are cruel, and curse others, find out that others despise, and curse them, if not to their face, behind their backs. Those who are kind and gentle with others, find others want to be kind, and gentle with them. What a person sows, they reap.
Third, not every belief and behavior is worthy of respect. Those who embrace a Pro-choice position towards the unborn, are not worthy of respect, esteem, or honor, because they are murderers, pure and simple. When a United States presidential candidate defends Planned Parenthood, and the right to terminate a life through partial birth abortion methods into the ninth month, that is not a belief, or behavior, that is worthy of respect. The person who advocates that view is not worthy of respect.
When a lifestyle is contrary to nature, it may be understandable both theologically, and culturally, but it is not worthy of respect if God has deemed it to be unrighteous.
When a person wants to annihilate, through Jihad, someone of a different religious persuasion, that individual is not worthy of respect, nor is the religion that teaches such a doctrine worthy of respect.
Political correctness teaches that every religion, every person, and every idea is worthy of respect. That is not only illogical, and foolish, it is self-destructive, and other destructive. Christians who influence others should be more temperate when teaching a concept that every belief, every lifestyle choice, every religion, every person is worthy of respect. That is wrong.
Kirk Cameron said, “It is my goal to love everyone. I hate no one. Regardless of their race, religion, their proclivities, the desire of their heart, and how they want to live their life, and the decisions that they make. I can even respect people’s decisions, and lifestyle choices, just as I hope they have the courtesy to respect my decisions and my choices.”
The idea here is that Christians are to “live and let live.” Christians are to “go along to get along.” From a Biblical perspective, that is wrong.
Jesus did not come to respect the beliefs, and behavior of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes, who were leading people into spiritual bondage, death, and damnation. Jesus came to save individuals from their sinful beliefs and behavior.
To be respectful of others does not mean to respect, esteem, or honor unrighteousness. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.”